Notes From Hairenik
May 13, 2009

If you’re planning on visiting Armenia in the next few weeks bring along a compact umbrella with you. The months of April and May are seasonally laden with rainfall, and the rain can continue into June as well. For the rest of the year, except for the winter when the snows come, much of Armenia, particularly Yerevan, is rather arid.

Naturally rain should be regarded as a good thing. After all, it’s hydrating the soil to produce crops in the farmlands. In the city it helps to wash away the shroud of micro-dust that permeates every crack and crevice. It never seems to work for very long though since dirty water simply flows down the street as drain pipes are few and far between for whatever reason that is. Most streets seem to be virtually absent of drains. Once the water dries up the dust remains, and with a gust of wind it’s back up into the air and then in everyone’s face before long. And coupled with all the pollen from the trees, walking down the street in a spell of springtime gales can be perilous.

I’ve spoken to people who actually resent the rain, because too much of it will ruin the apricot crop yields. Two years ago when it was raining almost on a daily basis the apricots were virtually washed out. There were so few apricots on the market that you couldn’t find a kilo selling for less than 800 dram (about $2 at that time). The year before that something else happened to the apricots--I think a late freeze destroyed most of them.

As for me… bring on the rain! Rainy days have become my favorite days of the month in dusty Yerevan. I personally can’t get enough of it because I know the time is short. In another month everyone will be begging for rain when people, especially fruit vendors and laborers, bake in the dry heat for weeks on end. I’m guessing the lack of summer rain is a main reason why Lake Sevan is such a popular vacation spot, where you can swim to your heart’s content in the lukewarm waters.  Sounds fabulous right about now.

Photo by Chrisitan Garbis